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This four-day onfield workshop at the historic city of Chamba, Himachal Pradesh, will explore the idea of a typical Himalayan city in terms of their unique idea of a publicly accessible city centre and the role of architectural institutions in the formation of urban spaces, and that of topography in the structuring of the city. The workshop participants will learn to analyse the city through onfield analytical drawings under the guidance of Prof. Pratyush Shankar, author of the book Himalayan Cities, and the Citylabs India team. 

The workshop will be organized under the following themes

  • The Idea of Public

Chamba, like many other Himalayan Cities, has a strong idea of a city centre in form of a large public space called the Chaugan. This space forms the heart of the city and is a generator of an urban form. We will try and analyse how an idea of the public is institutionalised through such urban acts. 


  • The institution and the city

Markets, temple complexes and royal properties form a light armature around which the city spaces have evolved. In this theme, we will try and look at the role of a few key institutions in shaping the urban experience. 


  • Topography and the city

Chamba is a classic example of a Himalayan city where the urban formation, which is an outcome of mountain valley geography, becomes an important force that structures the city. In this theme, we will try to correlate the city's morphology with its topography. 

09-12 June, 2022

DAY 4 - 12 June 2022

Summing up

  • 9:00 am – 1:00 pm 

Final presentation and discussions


DAY 1 - 09 June 2022

Orientation and Field Work

  • 9:30 am – 11:00 am 

Orientation and Input Lectures

  • 11:00 am – 5:00 pm 


  • 5:00 pm 

Discussion on the day’s work

DAY 2 - 10 June 2022

Field Work

  • 9:00 am – 5:00 pm 


  • 5:00 pm 

Discussion on the day’s work

DAY 3 - 11 June 2022

Field Work

  • 9:00 am – 10:00 am 

Input Lecture

  • 10:00 am – 5:00 pm 


  • 5:00 pm 

Discussion on the day’s work

Onfield Workshop


Snigdha Srivastava is a conservation architect and a graduate of SPA Delhi. She is currently an associate at Pratyush Shankar and Associates, Vadodara and is part of the CityLabs team. She is interested in urban heritage, specifically from the point of view of architecture and the city. She has carried out extensive research on the city of Vadodara on works on Robert Chisholm and the larger idea of institute and formation of public places. She is also interested in imaginative fiction and is a ferocious reader.


Vaibhavi Dave is an architect from CEPT University, Ahmedabad. She has been co-curating and coordinating Citylabs activities for many years. She is interested in Place-temporality and flexibility. In her latest writing, she explores the idea of a temporary city through the case of Durga Puja in Kolkata. She is also interested in research and the ideas of representation in architecture. Her research thesis looked into the question of recurring cases of utopian proposals in architecture and urban design at the time of socio-political unrest and their significance in history.

Team CityLabs India 


Dhruv Raja is an architect and research assistant at Pratyush Shankar and Associates, Vadodara. He is part of the Citylabs team and has also been an active participant in previous workshops. His interest lies in urban history and theory concerning Indian cities. His works delve into the ideas of mercantile traditions, religion and politics concerning their roles in city-building. He is one of the authors for CityLabs' upcoming publication 'Historicizing the Present', where he explores the making of Panjim as a colonial capital city.


Himalayan Cities: Settlement patterns, public places and architecture

The book is a result of documentation and research on the city and architecture of the Himalayas. It explores the idea of settlements in the Himalayas and their relationship with their landscape. The underlying theme of the book is the relationship between natural systems and human ingenuity as projected through its built traditions. The book is illustrated by hand drawings by the author and his students covering examples of different parts of Himalayas such as Ladakh, Himachal, Gharwhal, Kumaon, Kathmandu, Dhulikhel, Mustang, Manang and Bhutan.


"...the landscape is not a physical innate category but a strong cultural construct of societies. The perception and modification of either man-made or seemingly natural is an interlinked phenomenon. The representation of a landscape in historic and contemporary discourses is as important as the physicality of the landscape itself..."

Title: Himalayan Cities: Settlement Patterns, Public Places and Architecture.

Author: Pratyush Shankar; Foreword by Julia A B Hegewald

Publisher:  Niyogi Books

Language:  English

ISBN:  978-93-83098-16-3

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Prof. Pratyush Shankar, Dean of SEDA Navrachqna University, Vadodara, India, is a practising architect and academic. Previously an Adjunct Professor and Acting Dean at the Faculty of Architecture, CEPT University, he is also a Visiting Professor at TU Darmstadt, Germany, and was a Senior Humboldt Fellow at the University of Bonn, 2015-17. He has written the book Himalayan Cities and his forthcoming publication is titled “History of Urban Form: India” for Oxford University Press. He has been closely associated with the students and young professionals for over 2 decades. For more information log on to


The participants will be guided by Prof. Pratyush Shankar and supported by the Citylabs team. 

Public Space, Institutions and Topography

Himalayan City: Chamba



The workshop will be conducted in Chamba, India between  09-12 June 2022.

The fees for the workshop are:

Early Registrations

(3rd May '22–20th May '22)

  • Student*       –   INR 6000 

  • Professional –   INR 7000 

Regular Registrations

(21st May '22–08th June '22)

  • Student*         –   INR 7000 

  • Professional   –   INR 8000 

​This workshop is ideal for students, academics and professionals from the field of Architecture, Planning, Design, Geography, History and Arts.


*A valid student ID is mandatory and has to be uploaded during registration.

**The workshop fee does not include accommodations, travel or food, participants have to arrange for it by themselves.

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